Thursday, September 08, 2005


Here's a nice tribute to actress Diana Lynn. It was written on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the film The Kentuckian, which I have not seen. But I'm sure Lynn was good in it; she usually was.

Of course I, and many people, know Lynn best as one of the finest of all child actresses. In the '40s, when teenage girls in movies were mostly Deanna Durbin wannabes or screaming bobbysoxers, she played an acid-tongued, prematurely wise character who didn't take any guff from anybody, and who was clearly smarter than the adults. Her most famous version of this character is in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek -- just released on an excellent DVD -- but there must have been a lot of her in that character, because a year earlier she played a very similar character in the similarly excellent (but not on DVD yet) The Major and the Minor.

She was perhaps the best ever version of that indispensable but often dull character, the heroine's wisecracking confidante. She wasn't a mechanical wisecrack machine like Eve Arden could sometimes be, and she wasn't a self-hating, I-can't-land-a-man type like, well, Eve Arden could sometimes be (why Eve Arden, a good-looking woman, was always a spinster was beyond me). She was a charming, funny, pretty, spunky girl who was clearly going to grow up to be a charming, funny, lovely woman, and you always believe in her good heartedness, even when she's advising the heroine to do some nasty things.

Incidentally, I think The Major and the Minor may be Billy Wilder's best movie, but that's an argument for another post.

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